Is he good? ‘Hostel’ • AIPT

I usually love a wild horror movie. While Hostel is definitely wild, I wouldn’t say I “love” it. It’s not a badly made film but it does have flaws that hold it back from reaching a level of greatness. There are two main things that make this film an entertaining ensemble watch. The cast is talented and they give some interesting performances, especially Jay Hernandez. There’s also a chilling sense of dread that hangs over the whole thing that’s effective in scaring the public. The original nature of the plot is also to be commended. The stupid overemphasis on sex, youthful homophobia and occasional way over the top torture is what ultimately prevents this.

Derek Richardson and Jay Hernandez

I had forgotten just how horny those main characters were. I mean my goodness the first half hour just focuses on these three men trying to hook up with a live woman. One of them is in his early 30’s and still behaving like a teenager which is irritating. I’m no prude, but as a director you have to know when enough is enough. It’s like yeah we get it these guys are horny can we move on?


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And it’s not just sex acts, it’s raw mid-level dialogue too. Homophobic slurs and constant talk about female genitalia is off-putting. You generally want to make the audience like the main characters and in the beginning, Hostel seems like he’s trying to do the opposite.

Derek Richardson’s character is actually a pretty good person the whole ride through. He is for sure the best character in this area and Richardson gives a solid performance. Jay Hernandez is also very good in this role, but his character takes time to come around. I hated him at first, but as things get more dire his humanity starts to come out.

Is he good?  'Hostel'

Sex is not the only thing Hostel overindulges. There are several scenes where the violence just becomes awful for being too much. There’s a way to do it and be scary without some of the things they show us in detail. Sometimes leaving most horrible things to the imagination is a lot scarier than just showing ourselves. I’m not saying everything has to be completely sanitized but I do need to see several things featured in this stomach transformation.

But negative enough, there are more positives to enjoy here than the usual slasher has to offer. The Slovakian setting makes for a very suitable environment, especially the broken down old warehouse-type building where the horrors take place. Environment means a lot in a movie, especially a horror movie.

The third act delivers pretty well on the thrills that are built up during the first and second. The forces of evil at work get what comes their way and given the horrific nature of what’s happening, that’s very satisfying.

Is he good?  'Hostel'

Another very clever aspect of the final act is a scene where we see one of the men who paid for the torture. The writing in this scene is interesting and it makes the terror even more intense because we get to see one of these demented men and know why they are doing it. This scene brings a sense of intelligence to the table that other films in this subgenre typically lack.

On top of that, the final scene leaves you with a lingering impact, which I found satisfying. And I do believe it’s best to end a movie this dark with at least a somewhat happy ending, which Hostel luckily done. After all that, you need to shine some light at the end of the tunnel.

Hostel a slight recommendation wins from me. There’s enough creativity and good action to keep horror fans entertained, but beware it’s not for everyone!

hostel

Is he good? ‘Hostel’

Hostel

Hostel earns a light recommendation for its creativity and quality acting. If only Eli Roth would have reigned in excess and focused on premium filler.

Derek Richardson and Jay Hernandez

the use of environmental quality

Creativity

homophobia

Overindulgence of rough sex to the point it’s silly

Multiple stomach twist in depth visuals that were unnecessary

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